Atrial Fibrillation

An interesting title, isn’t it. Atrial fibrillation, blood clots. Well that’s what happened to me in February 9, 2015.

I had gone to a gastroenterologist for a post-hospital check up because my ileostomy had shut down. (It’s been an interesting month) Anyway, he told me my pulse was terribly irregular which probably meant I have atrial fibrillation. He was insisting on calling an ambulance but my husband was there and he got me to the emergency room quicker than it would have taken the ambulance.

The emergency room doctor verified I have atrial fibrillation and the CT scan picked up clots in both lungs. I wasn’t told about the clots until the next day. Imagine my outright shock. It was the last thing I expected. Even my primary care doctor said he couldn’t believe it happened because he saw me two weeks prior and I was fine. OK, now what do we do.

For those out there that have gone through this it’s old news but I was clueless. I was put on Warfarin, Coreg, and Amiodarone. After nine days I was sent home.

For those of you who don’t know what it is, atrial fibrillation is an irregular heart beat caused when one or both upper chambers (Atrium – singular, Atria – plural) don’t beat the way it/they should. This irregular beat can cause a clot to form in the heart and if that clot breaks loose it could go to the brain and cause a stroke.

I found out it is possible to have AFib and not have symptoms or the symptoms can crop up in a hurry. Symptoms include lightheadedness, confusion, shortness of breath, inability to exercise, palpitations, weakness, fatigue, racing heart and chest pain. Good grief, I’ve had several of these symptoms for years (fatigue and confusion in particular) and laid the blame on my fibromyalgia. Maybe I’ve had AFib for quite a while and didn’t know it? Very possible.

Atrial fibrillation, by itself, isn’t life threatening but it can have consequences that are such as stroke. The most common risk factors are hypertension and heart valve disease. Other conditions include heart failure, and cardiomyopothy. Some other conditions that can also contribute to AFib such as COPD, rheumatic fever, obesity and sleep apnea.

This paragraph is too lengthy and detailed to try to get it correct in my own words so I am taking it directly from Wikipedia. Some interesting facts you might like to know. “Atrial fibrillation is the most common abnormal heart rhythm. In Europe and North America, as of 2014, it affects about 2% to 3% of the population. This is an increase from 0.4 to 1% of the population around 2005.In the developing world about 0.6% of males and 0.4% of females are affected. The percentage of people with AF increases with age with 0.14% under 50 years old, 4% between 60 and 70 years old, and 14% over 80 years old being affected. A-fib and atrial flutter resulted in 112,000 deaths in 2013, up from 29,000 in 1990. The first known report of an irregular pulse was by John Baptist Senac in 1749. This was first documented by ECG in 1909 by Thomas Lewis.

Atrial Fibrillation

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